G40, LACOSTE A FACADE?
Of late most Zimbabweans wake up expecting to learn new political developments especially related to what is now known as G40 versus Lacoste factions of Zanu Pf party. The media has been leading in covering this issue and one wonders what it is. In the last few days, I have taken time to ask critical questions about these alleged factions of the ruling party. I even took time to ask various people some of them with significant levels of sophistry but to be honest l was suddenly left doubting whether these actually exists in real terms or it’s just a Zanu pf diversionary strategy, a facade again.
The questions for instance, intended to establish as to when were the two factions set up? Do they really exist? Are there any documents to that effect or something that qualifies the existence? If they exist, they exist as what and in the form of what? As an example of what? Who was the first person to discover them? I am aware for instance, of an article which was penned by Prof Jonathan Moyo a few years ago to the effect that the 2018 harmonised election is going to be decided by people who were born around 1980s since they will be real adults around 40 years old. I suspect it’s where the G40 emanated from though l don’t quiet agree with it. Because for all the elections in the past we have always had a significant population which was around 40 so why would it, this time determine the 2018 election outcome, l was not convinced. I was also left wondering what “determining” meant. Did it mean that in terms of candidature of voters or both? Did it mean that the nationalists group of politicians would have little to do to determine election outcome or they will be rebuked by the electorate. I can only suspect that that article might have given birth to what today is referred to as G4O. But does it really exists? Does Lacoste exists? I wonder.
I have all these questions which have made me doubt the existence of these factions because there seems to be between little or nothing beyond what we see or read which confirms the existence of these factions in real terms. If something is said to exists, it means it can be confirmed through all or some of our senses. It can objectively represented and has qualities or characteristics which can be ascertained. For some reason, the existence of these factions cannot pass this test and it is then tempting to conclude that there could be nothing but just talk and a Zanu pf strategy which we all fell for.
Zanu pf is known to divert public attention from real issues that have potential to expose or put it in bad light when citizens demand accountability. It would seem like this is what is happening regarding the much talked about factions (G40 and Lacoste). If one considers that in 2013 Zanu Pf came up with an election manifesto which was then collapsed largely into an economic blue print Zimasset with a number of key deliverables such as over 2 million jobs, then one realises that this could be a strategy by the ruling party to create something fictitious which excites society driven by the media. The so-called fights are not real.
As a result, what one then finds in both the mainstream and social media is not questions that put government of Zanu pf under pressure, but alleged fights between what is referred to G40 and Lacoste factions. Ordinarily, the media should play an oversight and watchdog role over especially the executive arm of government but Zanu pf has largely escaped the scrutiny as the citizens together with the media focused on the political gamesmanship and alleged factional wars. We no longer have especially in the last two years citizens who demand and question why we have such poor infrastructure in terms of roads, health delivery, education, water and sanitation etc, but citizens more interested in what’s happening in Zanu pf fights. This has as a result taken away the pressure from the government of Zanu pf and the so-called factions are not real but a strategy to sway citizens from real issues. It would be very unfortunate if Zanu pf threw a bone without meat to Zimbabweans to keep them busy while the looting and pillaging continues unabated. The G40 –Lacoste issue could be the bone and the earlier we realise it the better. All the pressure and citizens collective energies must be on the whole government of Zanu pf to deliver on election promises and not to be fooled by the so called factions.
Otherwise how would one explain the fact that people who are chased out of the party are then just readmitted through a supposed disciplinary committee and all seems normal. An example is readmission of people such as Webster Shamu, Flora Buka, Mike Madiro, July Moyo, Francis Nhema, Nicolas Goche, etc. All of a sudden these are now fine. We saw the same approach of fooling Zimbabweans in 2004 on what then became popularly known as the Tsholotsho Declaration when all allegedly associated with the “coup” were readmitted. It will not be surprising if for instance Rugare Gumbo, Mutasa, Bhasikiti, and Mujuru return to Zanu pf through “readmission”. And recently and after “fighting” in public Mr Jealous Mawarire resigned from Mai Mujuru led party. Lets not forget that when Zanu pf wanted to end the inclusive government in 2013, it is the famed Harare man, Mr Jealous Mawarire who participated in the political game of chess and took president Mugabe to court to force an election. Is this all real?
This is all political drama and strategy by Zanu pf to divert Zimbabweans. And all Zimbabweans and those who live in Zimbabwe must refuse to be swayed by these strategies and keep their eyes on the ball which is our political economy. Otherwise, the effect of all these political games is that it will divide and divert also the attention of opposition. It will divide opposition along tribal lines with for instance the Karangas in opposition beginning to sympathise with VP Mnangagwa and feeling like they owe him support. Let’s all as citizens just focus on demanding the acceptable minimum standard of service delivery from Zanu pf. Remember we have a contract with it and it has to fulfil its obligation whether as a united front or whatever state. We cannot allow Zanu pf to give us a toy again when what we need are real development issues.
As we focus on the referred political drama Zanu pf is compiling an election manifesto which will be based on firstly; a research on the effects of “sanctions” at the University of Zimbabwe which Prof Moyo initiated, secondly the alleged success story of the command agriculture, and thirdly stem. So, no Lacoste, no G40 we want service delivery.
Kudzai Kwangwari writes in his personal capacity. He can be reached on 0775 093384, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter- @kkkudzai,
Let me begin by congratulating His Excellency President Robert Mugabe because vavasekuru (grandfather) at a very ripe age of ninety-two. My brother got a muzukuru (grandson) at forty so its in order to congratulate him without asking as others may do, why so late in life? So congratulations President Mugabe and First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe.
Muzukuru was born about a month ago in Asia, Singapore and that’s what responsible people do if they want their child and muzukuru to be safe. In all honest l would not have expected Bona to deliver her first born in Zimbabwe when both her parents have been receiving medical attention outside Africa in Singapore where they know health facilities are a lot better. So President Mugabe and his wife got them the best of available facilities in the world. Now Bona has a healthy bouncing Simbanashe and as l write they are still together with Mr Chikovore in Singapore. I also want to extend my heartfelt wishes of quick recovery to the President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Mr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai who was recently in South Africa for medical attention. I wish him well.
So the fact that Bona gave birth in Singapore, not by accident but because it was planned like that, means the parents are clear in terms of what’s best for her. Must we think that they are clear in terms of what’s best for us also as Zimbabweans and all who live in Zimbabwe? Something is telling about this. President Mugabe won elections in 2013 to form a government where he appointed a health minister, Dr Parirenyatwa to ensure an effective health delivery system in this country. The fact that he could not trust the system which his own minister superintends over is telling. If President Mugabe himself is not happy with our own health delivery system when he supervises Dr Parirenyatwa, what does it say about both President Mugabe and Dr Parirenyatwa? Who does the President expects to use sub-standard health services when he himself and his family avoids it? One would have expected President Mugabe to demonstrate confidence and belief in the health delivery system of Zimbabwe by using it, but he completely avoids it and tells us that we have one of the best health services in the world. What must we believe?
President Mugabe passed a vote of no confidence in the system he superintends and that should tell us that ZANU PF is not about us as Zimbabweans but it is about itself. It is concerned with self reproduction, power retention and looting. So by the same token, the performance of the ministers is not assessed best on how well they are serving the people but on how well they are contributing to ZANU PF continued stay in power. This applies to all other bodies including heads of parastatals. All the ministers must serve the interest of the party ZANU PF before serving the interests of citizens. It will not matter in this country how well your ministry of organisation is faring in terms of serving citizens as long as it’s not doing enough to serve the party.
If for instance the famous 15 billion had been used by the party for its programs and activities, there wouldn’t be an issue. Mr Walter Chidhakwa, the minister of mines, knows that his job is safe as long as he is serving ZANU PF even if the people are not benefiting from his ministry. This applies to all other ministries and parastatals. For how do you explain a situation where the party approaches loss making parastatals for either money or utilization of services for free as is the case with ZBC TV , ZUPCO and many others?
Where we would have expected the party to form a government to serve the people, we have a party forming a government so that the government serves the party. But even in that scenario it is not the whole party, but a few elites who benefit in terms of land, mineral resources, tenders, you name it. The majority of the party members are just fans who cheer while the leaders are on the table feeding.
Ministers and other senior government officials hardly interact with the challenges which Zimbabweans are facing. As a result they have no idea what it practically means to go to sleep on an empty stomach, to go to a hospital where there is no service, to sleep in the open, use chaotic unreliable public transport, to have their children going to local universities where there are run down facilities. This is alien to them and it does not matter as long as ZANU PF is ok for them. For the past few months many of us have been struggling to access a few dollars we have from the banks. Who queued even once with a minister or a senior government official? Don’t they need cash? Where are they getting it? How?
So it is clear that ZANU PF is not about and for the citizens but for itself and by now we should not be arguing or debating about it. The ZANU PF government has done enough to demonstrate this beyond any doubt. Examples include, just a few years after independence, the near genocide disturbances in the Southern parts of Zimbabwe where lives were lost, 2005 operation Murambatsvina which left thousands without shelter and source of livelihood, the destruction of houses, the looting of retail shops through Operation dzikisai mitengo, targeting of opposition, arrests of civil society leadership, arrests of journalists, Operation Short Sleeve, forced disappearance of Rashiwe Guzha, Paul Chizuzu, Jestina Mukoko, Itayi Dzamara,you name it.
All these and others made it clear that this is not a government for and about the people and its no use enjoying analyzing and explaining how its abusing our rights without taking action. The guilty ones now are those of us who are not prepared to stand up and challenge. We will have ourselves to blame as things worsen and our children’s children will point at our graves with scorn.
If anyone doubted this then they got it from President Mugabe, his wife the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe and other excited members of the elite league proclaiming that President Mugabe will run this country from the grave at the million men march rally. What this tells us is the fact that what President Mugabe is doing at the moment can be done by someone who is dead. And it’s nothing. Having said this, it’s up to us to live with it while things are getting worse or to do something about it now or never.
Kudzai Kwangwari- He writes in his personal capacity and he can be reached on -0775 093 384
I seriously subscribe to principles of gender equality and l do all possible to ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities and are treated fairly as human beings. I was not happy when president Mugabe made a statement at the just ended ZANU PF supposed elective congress which seemed to attack the former Vice President Joyce Mujuru on the basis of the fact that she is a woman. “A woman for that matter, she is simplistic in her thinking” and many other disparaging comments which l felt were gender-blind, gender insensitive and do not promote the dignity of women. I was disturbed especially because it came from a head of state, during a time when the whole world was commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, but again disappointed because we did not get any significant reaction from women organisations- organisations that work to promote and protect rights of women. Perhaps they did not find anything amiss with it or l am making a fuss about nothing.
But on more serious issues, l am not happy with the way and nature with which the former Vice President’s dismissal and what she went through. It would look like we have a party which is suffering from a poverty of democracy, a party which cannot allow intra-party democracy to determine who becomes a leader. Surely one would have expected that if there is a criminal offence they the justice delivery system should have acted or if she was misbehaving then the internal procedures of the party should have been followed. Or if she was just no longer desirable, she must have been allowed to stand an election and lose democratically. But all this did not happen and as a nation we cannot promote this kind of anarchy and especially the way the office of the vice president was treated by ZANU PF party.
On the other side it is unfortunate that Mai Mujuru’s political victimization has seemed to generate some national sympathy and it would seem like we have short memory. For me she doesn’t become better because her own colleagues in ZANU PF no longer want her. That she now in the cold then she seems to be close to the people and more reasonable and law-abiding than her colleagues. No, we should not forget easily. She goes on to say the problems Zimbabweans are facing are simple problems of health, education, water, infrastructure etc, yet together with her colleagues she has been in government for over thirty years failing or avoiding doing the same simple things which “a simple girl” like her could do.
When many Zimbabweans were fighting a government which she was part of she did not say a word in support of civil society issues. When opposition political parties’ members and leaders were being beaten, maimed and attacked, she did not say anything because she was on the table eating. Perhaps as they say, when on the table one needs to exercise table manners by keeping quiet until you are done and full. She did not say a word when many activists in Civil Society were targeted, arrested arbitrarily, and sometimes their organisations closed or threatened.
Surely, she did not even support the ideas of a democratic media remaining mum when the Daily News which supports her today was bombed and closed, when The Tribune was closed, when The Weekly was closed, when a host of media advocates and journalists were targeted. When we said AIPPA, POSA, BSA, IOCA, OSA, and many other laws that affect the functioning of a democratic media, she did not listen or she chose to remain quiet. This is the same media which she today turns to so we can hear her side of the story. The same journalists who were targeted in her face while she occupied the second highest office in the land, sometimes even acting, she now turns to them. She did not show her support as a person or Vice President or mother. Infact when the media ran with corruption issues, she tried to suggest that the media was trying to effect regime change agenda.
She is the same person fellow Zimbabweans who delayed and almost denied Zimbabweans to join the rest of the world in ICT age when she was a minister of telecommunications in the nineties. When Strive Masiyiwa was striving on getting license to operate a mobile cellular phone company for the first time in this country, she stood and said no. I was young then but l remember the person who was occupying the vice presidency then, the former Vice President Joshua Nkomo said, “Munikenini umfana lo” mupei mupfana uyu” meaning give this boy a licence in reference to Strive Masiyiwa. Mai Mujuru then said this man is “senile” meaning the late Vice President.
Today the same company is probably the only company that is doing so well in this difficult operating environment. It employs thousands directly and in directly in Zimbabwe and Africa. Now if the late Vice President was able to stand and support a good cause, why didn’t see her doing the same using her position positively?
Today she needs coverage from the media including radio stations and l understand she actually gave an interview to Studio 7 yesterday-9th December 2014. She needs this media because the state media is not going to cover her today. Perhaps now more than ever before she appreciates the importance of media diversity, multiplicity and pluralism. If she is going to form or join a political party she will probably appreciate it more.
So should we sympathize with Mai Mujuru or we should show those that are still in ZANU PF that Zimbabwe is bigger than a political party however shrewd a party may be? Should we remind her that Zimbabwe is not ZANU PF and ZANU PF is not Zimbabwe? She we cultivate her into a real Zimbabwe where there is unemployment, no clean water or just water, where there is no electricity, where there is poverty and suffering? Perhaps she will take time to remind those that are still allowed in ZANU PF the real issues in life. The “simple things” which all of us yearn for.
The lesson for all Zimbabweans is that we cannot entrust our lives with politicians who will not hesitate to use us as political capital when need arises. We are not political capital but human beings with feelings, aspirations and needs. For those that join politics, let it be about the people and Zimbabwe and not our own selfish-gains. Let our political groupings and establishments be about addressing the needs and aspirations of the citizenry.
Kudzai Kwangwari is a Human Rights & Community Media Activist. He writes in his personal capacity and can be conducted on 0775 093 384 email@example.com
Published in the NewsDay Edition of 13 December 2014
The world is what becomes when what we want fails. What we do and what happens
Elections are a key component of any functioning democracy in any society. They provide the most credible and respected platform or mechanism upon which societies and nations are able to exercise their right to chose leadership of their choice. It is a platform where citizens express themselves and expect their choice to be respected. This is especially so if the elections are held in a way that makes key stakeholders feel free and fair. We are aware of the fact that there are some schools of thought who have argued and questioned whether democracy is the best system of governance i.e. Is it the best way that ensures better quality of life to the governed. Well, while l respect this opinion, l believe that though democracy may not be good, everything else is worse hence the need for countries, communities, organizations or even families (is it so?) to embrace democratic principles in their governance or better still in their leadership.
One of the most critical components of democracy is participation. The active participation of communities is critical at all levels be it in the establishment of electoral frameworks, preparation, voter registration, and power transfer systems. The just ended mobile voter registration process is a case in point. This paper argues that the lack of vibrant community media such as community radios hampers the full active participation of our citizens in the democratic process thereby negating the whole democratization process. In order for citizens to participate actively, they must have adequate useful information so that they are able to make important decisions.
The fact that the voter registration process was very unsuccessful considering the numbers of people who registered to vote and the number of potential new voters in our communities has more to do with the extend these communities were able to access information than anything else. This is very disturbing given the fact that our government continues to frustrate efforts to promote the growth of the community broadcasting sector. Organizations such as the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) and Media Institute of Southern Africa- Zimbabwe that work daily to promote the growth of this sector must be applauded and the government of Zimbabwe must embrace them as development partners as opposed to enemies as they work with many community radio initiatives dotted around Zimbabwe. In the face of having no access to airwaves, these organizations have been working with these community radios to provide alternative media platforms to promote access to information in rural and other outlying communities.
We argue that if the pending harmonized elections are held without this important media sector, then we are likely to have a meaningless election where majority of citizens will again not vote or will vote for what they don’t know as was the case in the constitution referendum. The government must ensure that community media is available, supported and allowed to operate freely. It is dangerous to go for elections without this important sector. In a community where a newspaper costs 1USD, and more than 70% of the population live on less than 1USD, it is inhuman for a government to expect citizens to participate actively in local and national development processes without reliable sources of critical information.
Communities especially in rural areas are marginalized when it comes to access to information and platforms where they can deliberate and share their thoughts, fears and aspirations. Community radios in Hwange, Ntepe in Gwanda, Patsaka-Nyami-nyami in Kariba, Nkayi, Tonga Fm in Binga, Tsgholotsho, Lupane, Chikomba should be the equivalent of olden day dare/enkudleni where issues are deliberated and decisions made. Community radio platforms should enable an interactive process between the electorate and those who aspire to hold public office. It is for this reason why community radio is largely viewed as media for development. While we appreciate the few changes that have happened in the broadcasting sector recently, where two commercial stations were licenced, we still think that this government can do more by allowing community radio stations to licenced.
We believe that communities that succeed are those that allow their citizens to freely express their views, fight peacefully and generate solutions to expressed and collectively articulated problems. Community radio facilitates this kind of process and there is no reason for the government to fear the people. If the government is not planning for a sham election, then it must allow communities to speak out through the licensing of community radios. We know that the two main political parties in government have been negotiating for an electoral road map and we think that one of the most important aspects of such a negotiation should be centered on the question of how to diversify, and pluralize the broadcasting media sector. While the SADC Rules and Guidelines on the Holding of Democratic Elections are clear on issues of equal access to media for the candidates, we think the same must be said of the electorate. No one should be marginalized and play the role of a victim when it comes to information and free expression.
Zimbabwe is suffering a big confidence crisis as can be witnessed by the extent to which citizens approach the different public bodies for information. This is so especially because there is between little and no honest communication between the state and citizens which results in citizens having to speculate and gossip in order for them to make important decisions. In a community where there is no communication between the citizenry and the state, both exhibit lack of trust in each other and engage in activities that are meant to protect and promote personal gain at the expense of national interest. On the part of government, there has not been any effort to ensure that the citizens have unfettered access to public offices particularly those that deal with critical information. Often times, what comes from the direction of the state are orders and instructions where citizens are expected to conform without proper progressive engagements, while from the citizenry it is usually the complains on positions and policies which they feel improper.
In a big way, the government has used different legal instruments which curtail free access to information for citizens such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Official Secrets Act, Broadcasting Services Act, Censorship Act, Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Interception of Communications Act. These tools have been used to create a gap between citizens and the state which has given rise to the confidence crisis that this country is grappling with at the moment with by-products manifesting as polarization and diminishing trust. It has created somewhat like a buffer so that the people cannot access their government. The government seems to be afraid of its people while the people seem to be both suspicious and afraid of their government. In a situation as is obtaining, the national suffers lack of consensus and fragmentation where there is no area of commonality or rallying point for us all.
Often times, when bodies such as ZINARA attempt to appraise citizens on their work, for instance how much it has collected through toll gates, citizens frown at it as an expression of disapproval and lack of trust in both the communicator and the information itself. This is the case with other bodies that are linked to the state including National Aids Council (NAC), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and Broadcasting Authority (BAZ). They have lost credibility and the citizenry have no confidence in them.
Having said this, it is then terribly important for the government to open up channels of communication by promoting and enhancing media freedom so that media practitioners can access information sources for reliable information whether negative or positive. The propensity to block the free flow of information should not be allowed in this era. The harnessing of ICTs and social media should be one of the critical areas that this government should embrace in order to build this confidence and enhance interaction between the state and citizens. The e-government concept which Minister Nelson Chamisa mentions sometimes should be the way to go. But all this requires political will and preparedness to account on those who hold public office in whatever capacity.
This article asserts that for as long as there is no relationship between the governed and the governors, there will be no development in this country and any other country for that matter. And needless to say, this relationship is established and sustained through communication. This is so because the development agenda of a nation should naturally be a product of a communication process where all is allowed to input. It cannot be a complete top-down approach where those in higher echelons of power decide on their own what must be done on behalf of the people.
So if there is a prudent intervention to make, it should be one that aims at bringing all the players on the table and declare their aspirations, fears, and reservations. The social contract that Reserve Bank governor Dr Gideon Gono once proposed a few years ago which brings government, labour, civil society, and industry should be revived but it should be supported by a vibrant media which provides a platform for citizens to interact between themselves as well as the state. In order for certain communities not to be marginalized, there is need for effective media platforms in the rural areas also. This can be in the form of community radio stations that promote debate at both local and national level.
As long as Zimbabweans and people who live in Zimbabwe are not confident that what the state is doing is in their own interest, we risk losing invaluable contribution from them. So efforts to enhance the interaction between citizens and the state through a vibrant and open media regime are the only way to go. For as long as there is no change on this area, the confidence crisis will continue to persevere eating the potential of this country to develop. Published by The Standard, May 5
- Africa Review – No media reforms in Zimbabwe, just intimidation (zimbabweelection.com)
- ZLHR urges govt to advance media reform package (thezimbabwean.co.uk)
Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC T) has been arguably the most popular political party in Zimbabwe in the last decade or so. Many people believe that it is the only opposition party that has managed to challenge ZANU PF strongly with a real national appeal effectively dealing with the one-party state philosophy which President Mugabe had attempted to propagate in the eighties. Eventually MDC T won parliamentary majority in the 2008 harmonized election making it difficult if not impossible for President Mugabe to form a government without the participation and involvement of the MDC T, especially.
Other than that, the MDC T benefited from the anger and disappointment experienced by the electorate with the former ruling ZANU PF party performance or lack of it. There are schools of thought who believe that the MDC T has not been able to demonstrate national development agenda for Zimbabwe other than opposing ZANU PF. So, for the electorate, the main exciting development about the MDC T getting political value was no more than just that they had found a party to challenge and fight a “known bad political animal” in the form of ZANU PF. Other than putting ZANU PF on its toes by exciting the electorate with bravery, the MDC T did not really present to the people of Zimbabwe real national political agenda hinged on any clear development policy. In fact many believe that the former opposition is incapable of drafting an effective policy which can take Zimbabwe forward outside ZANU PF opposition agenda.
Where an attempt has been made to come up with any policy including RESTART, and now JUICE, it has been a reaction to ZANU PF policies. In other words, one may actually argue and say MDC T owes its own existence and purpose to ZANU PF that if for some reason, ZANUPF evaporates from the face of our body politic, MDC T will run into serious political problems of relevance – seeking. This is so, because more often than not, the former opposition party has demonstrated that their political business is either to plan against ZANU PF or to react to ZANU PF. It may be in cabinet, in parliament, in their own meetings, at rallies, in COPAC, JOMIC, National Healing Organ or any political discussion for that matter. We are yet to see and experience an MDC T which demonstrates that their political program or agenda is motivated by the real developmental dreams of the generality of the people of Zimbabwe. An MDC T that says in terms of health, education, social services, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development, agriculture, land, industrial development, HIV response, environment, employment creation, gender or mining development, our policy postulates this.
For some reason, the party (MDC T) has failed to present itself beyond just an opposite of ZANU PF and say to Zimbabweans we are going to do the following to deal with the challenges which this country is facing. Its approach has been an” unlike ZANU PF which” as if if it wasn’t for ZANU PF there would be no need for them to serve Zimbabwe. For that reason, when MDC T joined government in February 2009, they did not shift and change approach. They remained in an opposition mode, opposing even programs which sometimes they were part of because they had not learned any other political behaviour other than opposing.
The citizenry was expecting that the MDC T will craft policies and work towards the implementation of same. In the event of meeting resistance from their colleagues in ZANU PF, they would then use that to mobilize support from Zimbabweans. But this did not happen and Zimbabweans started asking whether there was a difference between the two parties or not. To make matters worse, the MDC T got most service delivery ministries at the formation of the inclusive government and unfortunately these ministries interface with citizens everyday and citizens are able to judge performance on the basis of that. These ministries include water, health, finance and social welfare. The fact that there has not been any significant improvement on these fronts presents a negative assessment of the MDC T in government by the public. Reports of corruption in many local government administrations notably Chitungwiza and abuse of the constituency development fund (CDF), did not help matters. It is as such not surprising to hear a number of researchers predicting a ZANU PF victory in the event of elections.
I am afraid if the former opposition party does not deliberately adopts an approach that enables it to retain political relevance whether ZANU PF is there or not, then they are doomed. It must embrace the people of Zimbabwe and formulate strategies and policy framework based on the expressed needs of the populace. The more the MDC T continues to just react to ZANU PF behaviour and strategies, the more they are likely to reproduce the political characteristics of ZANU PF. Comments recently by Prime Minister Richard Morgan Tsvangirai on the referendum where he described citizens who voted for “NO” while in Harare and Masvingo saying “vane mamhepo” is most unfortunate especially coming from someone who has been supposedly fighting for democracy and the cessation of hate speech by other politicians notably ZANU PF. It demonstrates not only his lack of tolerance but resistance to diversity by his party. This does not assist the situation of the MDC T given that they seem to be reproducing what they are fighting against.
Must we continue to hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel or we remain doomed? If the MDC T is really committed to the realization of democratic dispensation in this country, they must ensure that all its business demonstrates democratic practice at all time, be it within the party, in government, or any other area of operation. Otherwise the former opposition party cannot have its cake and eat it. Unlike in 2008, when Zimbabweans voted using their stomachs, this time around l am sure the” head” will be a bit more involved.
So, the MDC T has to change its political attitude and behaviour now or they will have themselves to blame when the electorate surprise them as was the case recently in Kenya where Raila Odinga is still failing to believe what happened. It is hoped that the “excellence” is not slowly becoming complacency.
- Mugabe says he’s open to talks with Zimbabwe opposition (kimenglish99.wordpress.com)